In the heart of Philadelphia’s Midtown Village, a startling job advertisement has sparked widespread criticism and an official investigation. Moriarty’s Restaurant and Bar, a staple in the Philadelphia bar scene since 1974, recently sought a “biologically male” bartender, a specification that has been condemned as overtly transphobic.
This contentious requirement in the job listing blatantly violates the inclusive ethos of the surrounding Gayborhood, a district renowned for its LGBTQ+ friendly environment. Celena Morrison, the Executive Director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, described the advertisement as “extremely problematic and absolutely transphobic.” The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, alongside Morrison’s office, is probing the matter under the lens of federal and state anti-discrimination laws, which safeguard against employment discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual identity.
An Unsettling Response from the LGBTQ+ Community
The backlash from the LGBTQ+ community and its allies was swift and unequivocal. Deja Lynn Alvarez, the first openly transgender woman to run for Philadelphia city council and deputy director of World Health Care Infrastructures, expressed dismay at the ad’s appearance in an LGBTQ+-inclusive area. “My first thought was ‘what the hell are they thinking?’” she shared with the press.
Adding to the voices of disapproval, Rue Landau, a City Council member and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve on it, highlighted the clear breach of the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance by the job listing. Landau expects a straightforward investigation given the ad’s blatant disregard for the law.
A Challenging Moment for an Established Venue
The incident places Moriarty’s, a historic establishment near the Forrest Theater, under uncomfortable scrutiny. Its proximity to the Gayborhood has magnified the controversy, with many questioning the intentions behind such a discriminatory hiring practice. While the management of Moriarty’s has yet to issue a statement, the repercussions of this incident are already being felt across the community.
This case serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in the fight against discrimination and the importance of vigilance and activism in upholding the rights of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity.